How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Westport Massachusetts
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Westport MA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Westport MA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Westport MA dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Westport MA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Westport MA, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Westport MA employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Westport MA dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Westport MA dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westport MA dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Westport MA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Westport MA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Westport MA at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Westport MA?
The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are "Westport Point" with the dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river, "Central Village" with town offices, retail stores and businesses, "Head of Westport" at the head of the east branch of the river and the area referred to either as "Acoaxet" or "Westport Harbor," which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is actually cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.
Westport, so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was first settled in 1670 as a part of the town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called "Coaksett" in the original deed; the name, now spelled "Acoaxet," lives on in the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River. Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by King Philip's War, when the native Wampanoag population rebelled against the oppression of the English settlers. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, and in 1787, the town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.
During the late 18th century, into the early 19th century, a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist named Paul Cuffee and his wife settled in the town, on the banks of the Westport River where he launched a shipyard. Cuffee became one of the richest free blacks in the United States at the time, and helped the effort to try to emigrate black slaves to Sierra Leone in Africa.
There were several cotton mills along the river, the largest of which was at the junction of the river with Lake Noquochoke on the Dartmouth town line. The Macomber turnip traces its ancestry to turnips sowed in Westport shortly after 1876. During the Second World War, a coastal defense installation was raised on Gooseberry Island. The town is now mostly residential, with a large farming community. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, located to the north and west of Gooseberry Island, is a popular summer destination for many in the area.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Westport MA
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Westport MA.
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